With the cost of rent hitting record highs in California and many big cities across the country, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) proposed this week one possible way to ease the burden on renters: a tax credit.
Harris unveiled The Rent Relief Act, which would create a refundable tax credit for tenants paying more than 30% of their gross income on their rent and utilities. The credit would be limited to households earning less than $100,000 (or $125,000 in high-cost areas like California’s urban centers) and would cap the amount of rent that could be claimed.
People who spend a third of their income on housing costs are considered “rent burdened,” and they may not have enough money left each month for other necessities, such as transportation, food, healthcare or savings.
Is there any consumer of almond milk who believes that the beverage they are enjoying is cow’s milk flavored with almonds? For that matter, how many consumers choose soy milk because they crave the taste?
Perhaps the odd person is confused about this, but it is widely understood that any milk that comes with such a description is derived from plants and has nothing to do with the lactation of an animal. In fact, that’s generally why people buy the stuff.
Why then, does the Food and Drug Administration think consumers need protection from faux-milk beverages?
We should start a regular feature here on Enter the Fray: Take a Walk Back with President Trump.
This week alone, the president and his aides had to “clarify” (read: contradict) his remarks at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki that gave equal credence to U.S. intelligence agencies and Russia’s murderous strongman on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.
Short of conclusive proof to back up the Steele dossier, it’s hard to imagine anything that fits more perfectly into liberal fantasies than the allegations against Maria (code name: Mariia) Butina.
The case features a young Russian woman who prosecutors say tried to infiltrate U.S. conservative political, religious and gun-rights groups while being steered by people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prosecutors also accuse her of using or trying to use sex to gain access to these groups and to obtain a job with one of them that would let her stay longer in the United States.
Yet the things missing from the story so far prevent Butina from truly being the smoking gun that the anti-Trump crowd so desperately craves. (And for the record, Butina’s lawyer denies the allegations and says she has been trying to cooperate with federal investigators.)
Movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s contention that he had a “bargain” with actress Ashley Judd that he could touch her after she won an Academy Award should be laughed out of court.
The ridiculous argument was part of a motion by Weinstein to dismiss the defamation suit Judd brought against the Hollywood power broker. Judd claims in her lawsuit that Weinstein “torpedoed” her acting career after she turned down his sexual advances.
In court documents, Weinstein contends not only that he struck an agreement with Judd, but that he “attempted to live up to his part of the bargain by trying to cast Plaintiff in as many roles as possible that could earn her an Academy Award.”
What a month it’s been for America’s billionaires!
First Elon Musk went off the rails and called one of the heroes of the Thai cave rescue operation a “pedo” — ostensibly for living in Thailand (and for speaking ill of Musk’s special rescue submarine). Then Amazon’s Jeff Bezos became the richest human being in history, just as ill-treated Amazon workers went on strike over poor pay.
We’ve heard this critique so often that it’s become a cliche: Republican attacks on Obamacare would inflict more damage on their own states than on those represented by Democrats.
Yet here they go again. Nineteen states with GOP leaders and the Republican governor of a 20th state filed suit against the federal government this year, trying (again) to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional. If they succeed, they will dismantle not only the state insurance-buying exchanges and the premium subsidies the ACA created, but also the law’s insurance reforms.
The advisors who prevailed on President Trump to “clarify” his statement in Helsinki that he couldn’t see why it “would” be Russia that interfered in the U.S. election may have to stage another intervention.
In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson aired on Tuesday night, Trump called into question, not for the first time, his commitment to a central proposition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The context was a question from Carlson about Montenegro, the former Yugoslav republic that is the most recent country to join NATO.
My colleague Michael McGough wrote the obvious on this blog yesterday: that President Trump was believable when he defended Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki and entirely unbelievable in his one-day-later “do-over” effort to walk back his outrageous original comments.
The walk-back defied credulity. Were we really supposed to believe that Trump has come around and now believes the Russians meddled in the 2016 U.S. election on his behalf? Is it even remotely likely that he was in fact contradicting Putin in Helsinki — but that he accidentally said “would” when he meant “wouldn’t”?
Of course not. McGough concluded that Trump’s carefully scripted remarks Tuesday were merely a reaction to “a bipartisan chorus of condemnation over his calamitous comments in Helsinki.”
The hate-read is a time-honored internet tradition. The latest entry in the genre comes from Refinery29, a young women's lifestyle site. A series called "Money Diaries" purports to be "tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money." Anonymous writers submit their annual salary and a week's worth of expenses to show what it's like to, say, live in Los Angeles on a joint seven-figure salary, or in New Orleans on a $37,000 salary.
Like most first-person tales of personal finance, they mostly exist so the rest of us can judge their choices in the comments. Who drops $175 for weeknight sushi? Are you really doing a monthly clothing subscription when you have student loans to pay? Etc.
This week, a particularly galling Money Diary is so ludicrous it might just be a covert ad campaign for socialism. In a piece that has whipped social media into a frenzy of righteousoutrage, a 21-year-old marketing intern in New York City writes guilelessly about the difficult financial decisions anyone would face if their parents paid their rent, health insurance, phone bill, Netflix and tuition — and gave them an $800 monthly allowance, plus an additional $300 from their grandfather ("#blessed").